As part of the LOM (mobility orientation law) and the Climate and Sustainability law, private fleets of more than 100 vehicles must reserve 10% of their purchases for low-emission models (VFE, less than 60 g/km of CO2). Short-term rental companies are no exception to this rule and have begun greening their fleets with 100% electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and simple hybrid vehicles. In 2022, more than 29% of purchases by various market players were for electric vehicles. Their registration of 100% electric models increased by 13.2%. This development is all the more necessary as the gradual introduction of ZFE-m (low-mobility zone) pushes urban drivers to pollute their journeys.
A charging electric car
Rental agencies are also equipped with charging stations. In fact, recharging and the impossibility of finding a terminal still worries potential customers. For short-term rental companies, agencies located in the city can easily prepare themselves with facilities. At airports and train stations, brands must reach agreements with site operators or car park operators to estimate delivery capacity and take action.
To stimulate demand for electric vehicles, the profession is also making a short-term rental campaign part of the report to evaluate fleet electrification, as is the case with long-term and purchase. “Demands remain very low for 100% electric models whose autonomy and recharging remain obstacles”, observes Guirec Grand-Clément, general manager of the rental company Enterprise and vice president of joint ventures of Mobilians. But if this demand is still not met, some businesses rent 100% electric cars, he adds. In the organization, we study the kilometers traveled and, for 60 to 80 kilometers per day, we can provide an electric model with a pleasant experience. »
In this context, which is pushing to distribute electricity, a major maneuver has begun to reorganize the short-term rental market. The contours of the takeover of Europcar and Volkswagen are therefore gradually becoming clear. The German manufacturer wants to transform Europcar Mobility Group into a leader in sustainable mobility through technology and data. More precisely, the offer must meet the needs of customers for mobility and car rental for a few hours or for subscriptions for several years. The test phases of these services have been implemented in cooperation between Volkswagen, Porsche Bank and Europcar, and were launched in Vienna and Hamburg at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
If the brands of the Volkswagen group sell these mobility services, all solutions will be hosted on the central platform of the future. The international version will finally be launched and a joint fleet of vehicles covering all services, from rental to registration, including sharing and collecting vehicles, will be put in place to ensure maximum availability and generate operating margins. Europcar will be the basis of this platform with its branches in stations, airports and city centers, and with its teams.
Tenants install electricity
An important point to consider: autonomous vehicles will join the fleet from 2025 to provide innovative services, increase efficiency and increase profitability. To introduce these self-driving cars, Volkswagen and Europcar are today testing the ID.Buzz, the manufacturer’s small electric car, in Munich and Hamburg. Similar projects will be held in other cities in Europe, China and the United States. And in 2025, Volkswagen will sell the first autonomous mobility services in Europe before expanding them to the United States.
Electricity is included in the plan of all short-term rental companies. Since its creation in 2020, Drivalia (formerly Leasys Rent, see opposite) has been supplying electricity to its fleet, for example. And from its first year of operation, Drivalia has reached the goals set by the Stellantis group and FCA Bank, namely a group of short-term passenger rental cars, with 75% electric and/or rechargeable models. In addition, the rental company has deployed 250 payment points in its branches in 2022. Their number should increase from 150 to 350 by the end of the year. Intermittent power transmission is moving towards an industrial stage.
Rent A Car is also investing in the electrification of its fleet. A 3 million euro plan over five years should allow this rental company to recycle low-emission vehicles and equip its fleet with charging stations. The rental company already offers 100% electric, hybrid and plug-in vehicles to its customers, as well as LNG fueled models. Its producers and mechanics are trained to operate and maintain electric vehicles. By the end of 2022, one hundred organizations were ready with payment infrastructure.
In the same movement, Hertz and Uber, which are already partners in North America, are extending their agreements to Europe. With this deal, Hertz plans to deliver up to 25,000 electric cars to Uber drivers around major European cities by 2025. Therefore, a variety of electric vehicles will be offered to these VTC drivers, including Tesla and Polestar models. This contract represents an important pillar of Hertz’s strategy which aims to create one of the largest fleets of electric vehicles in the world.
For its part, Uber has set itself the goal of becoming a zero-emission platform in Europe and North America by 2030. In North America, through the same partnership, thousands of Uber drivers got an electric model. Almost 50,000 of them have already rented a Tesla thanks to this program and 24 million 100% electric trips have been made, i.e. a distance of more than 400 million kilometers without carbon. European integration began in January in London and other major cities such as Paris and Amsterdam will follow later in the year.
Another track followed by long-term rental experts is that of a shared car. In late 2022, Enterprise launched a business-focused car sharing service called Car Share. Through an online booking system or specific software, employees can automatically reserve a low or zero emission PC or LCV, for a period of one hour to one day. Cars are available on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Enterprise recalls in this regard the results of the Ademe survey according to which the shared car replaces five to eight isolated cars, removing between 10,000 and 19,000 kilometers traveled per year and providing 0.9 to three parking spaces on the road. Another result is that professionals who use car sharing make long journeys (22.9% more than 200 km).
For its part, the Stellantis group, which operates in the short-, medium- and long-term rental market, and in the mobility market through Free2Move, wants to be profitable with its car-sharing activity by 2030. After getting Share Now from for BMW. Group and Mercedes-Benz in July 2022, Free2Move strengthens the interaction between the two systems by giving its customers the possibility to access Share Now vehicles in Paris and Madrid. Rentals are by the minute, by the day, or even by the month, and are open to individuals and professionals alike. Since the end of the first quarter of 2023, the two ships have been fully integrated. The cars have been electrified for Peugeot e-208 and Fiat 500e in Paris and Fiat 500e in Madrid where they have joined Jeep Renegade Hybrid and Peugeot e-208.
In recent years, short-term rental companies have worked in parallel to keep their activities and, in particular, their activities. “All the features that favor the use are meant to continue to be developed”, predicts Guirec Grand-Clément for Enterprise. In this context, telematics offers new means of withdrawal and the possibility of unlocking the vehicle remotely. And this technology also helps promote car sharing. Short-term rental companies therefore market solutions for installing the technologies required to integrate a fleet of aircraft within companies.
Use instead of ownership
A stakeholder in the shared mobility market, short-term rentals want to develop real legitimacy. “Like everything that can promote consumption over ownership, short-term is good, says Guirec Grand-Clément on this subject. The shared car takes the eighth place in ownership. We protect the development of consumption. Short-term rental is part of the solution, not a problem. In addition, the fleet of short-term rental companies is smaller and more electric and therefore less polluting. »